Dear friends at Faith in Naples,
Advent greetings from a sunny Phnom Penh! What a joy to write this update, knowing that even, and especially, in the midst of COVID-19, God still “advents” into this world. We are honored to be adopted us as your “Mission of the Month” and inspired by your passion for God’s global mission!
Our family is serving in our 14th year in Asia. Even as we continue to miss serving in Vietnam (2007-2017), we are in love with Cambodia. The opportunities and challenges here are a good fit for our family’s gifts and passions.
The urgency of sharing God’s love is palpable, as only 2% of the Cambodian population is Christian. We love simply reaching out to those immediately around us. Our house has become the neighborhood children’s “hub” and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are constantly sharing Jesus with kids and, when opportunities come, their parents. Recently we organized an outreach Halloween party. Because 1) Cambodians know of Halloween, and 2) Cambodian religious traditions interact with the spirit world, we thought Halloween would be a perfect opportunity to speak about Jesus, the Holy One at whom the demons shuddered. But evangelism is only step one.
Generally speaking, the Cambodian church struggles retaining new believers. This is a problem of discipleship. That’s why J.P. works primarily as a mentor and theological educator for pastors and church leaders. Recently he led a three-day seminar exploring God’s mission in the book of Acts and drawing lessons for today. He also recently travelled to a remote village and taught 60+ leaders about the nature of Christian worship, highlighting that it is not transactional but transformational.
One of our greatest joys is to intentionally disciple our church’s youth group. We gather at our home every Saturday night for fellowship, food, and Word. Recently, two young women were baptized into Christ right in our living room (because our local church was not able to meet due to COVID-19 restrictions)!. J.P. has also started working with key youth leaders, training them to lead Bible study so that capacity is built in local leaders rather than just foreign missionaries.
Apart from keeping our family sane, Aimee is called to support other missionaries in the Asia region. As a part of the Asia administrative team, she coaches missionaries in Hong Kong, Macau, and Papua New Guinea. This is perfect for her gifts as a visionary, strategic thinker.
Our children, Celeste (13), Bella (11), and Isaac (3) are navigating COVID-19 challenges with perseverance and joy. With recent COVID-19 scares in Cambodia, they are back online 100% of their school time, but we hold out hope that they might return to on-campus learning after the new year.
THANK YOU for your ongoing prayers and support. We cannot do what we do unless we are sent. We are your missionaries here in Asia because you send us. But you are also our missionaries there in Naples! Know that we pray for you and are cheering for you as you face the challenges of ministry in this volatile environment. It is a real comfort to know that even when so much that we rely on is taken from us, God’s faithfulness to work through His Word shines through.
The Cima Family
J.P., Aimee, Celeste, Bella, and Isaac Cima